You are being redirected - hold on tight!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Design: New York Auto Show -- Maxima Overdrive

Nissan's Maxima was a sport sedan star in the early 90s but it has since been eclipsed by their own Altima in the hearts and minds of many. The outgoing Maxima shared the Altima's platform but used convoluted styling to distinguish itself. The new Maxima, unveiled today at the New York Auto Show before my very eyes aims to restore the name to glory. Design wise I'd have to say it's a mixed bag, something of a Nissan specialty. The most controversial element are the headlamp shapes which sweep boomerang like into the fender sides (see picture above). The effect is somewhat contrived. Still the detailing is gorgeous -- check out the undulating folded hood forms. The lamp clusters themselves are an elegant mixture of shapes and crystal textures. The Maxima proves to be one of those rare cars that seem undistinguished from afar but profit from a close inspection.
Then there is the roofline which is derivative of Lexus in it's similar appropriation of BMW's famed Hofmeister kink (no not chihuahuas in tutus -- the Hofmeister kink is the little bend in the rear side window of BMW's that has spread like wildfire amongst near luxury pretenders). The lower body detailing verges on dull. Yawn to the flat radius wheel arches. The sweep of the c-pillar into the kicked-up trunklid is a shout out to another more recent BMW trope as seen on the 7 Series and Mercedes' S- Class.
Again though, some of the detailing is superb. The rear hips swell suggestively from just the right angle (see above picture) while the precise lines from the side of the rear window and the edge of the roof sweeps into the trunklid together before diverging to create a broad surface form at the end of the car. I can't say all of this fine surfacing adds up to a great design but it certainly makes for a rewarding inspection.

No comments: